Originally Answered: Bearded dragon feeding question?
PLEASE do not feed your beardie mealworms or pinkies.
It is obvious that both you and your son want to do the best you can in giving your possible new pet the best care. I made up a quick and easy care sheet for just this reason. Please scan through it and follow the links for more info.
Here is some important info for you to take a look at – a small care sheet type thing I made up:
They need at least a 40g tank - this is for each. You should never house two bearded dragons together as they can and probably will end up fighting – if not at first, they will with time as they get territorial. They get big in size, plus this size tank will properly distribute the needed temps on the hot and cool side. The hot needs to be 90-100, the cool 80-90 (add 10 to both sides for juveniles). The temp can go into the 70s at night throughout the whole tank as this is the normal temp they are used to at night. Beardie’s also MUST have an UVB light 10-12 hours a day, and need to be able to get within 6-8 inches of it to properly receive its rays. UVB helps some reptiles properly digest their food and receive the nutrients, especially calcium from their food. DO NOT use any type of under the tank heater or heat rock for your dragon or in the tank. Bearded dragons do not have heat sensors on their underside and many have experienced serious burns, some life threatening, due to these items.
Any type of loose substrate is bad for a bearded dragon as it can cause impaction (http://www.beardeddragon.org/articles/impaction/). The best substrates to use are repti-carpet, outside carpet, tile, non-adhesive shelf liner, paper towel, and even felt. If you have a bearded who likes to dig, you can place a towel or some paper towel, or even a small blanket loosely where he likes to sleep. This will safely give him something to bury himself into. Here are some pics of my Spike with her favorite blanky, (http://picasaweb.google.com/dolphinsilversea01/Spike#5286327603195808962 and http://picasaweb.google.com/dolphinsilversea01/Spike#5286327592283475234). Beardie’s need both live food and salads on a DAILY basis. The salads should contain a mixture of greens, like collard greens and others plus an occasion of fruits and veggies mixed in. Visit http://www.beautifuldragons.503xtreme.com/Nutrition.html to get a listing of the foods that are good, and foods to stay away from. For the live foods NEVER feed your bearded meal worms or mice. Meal worms have too hard of an outer shell with very little meat inside making them hard to digest. Mice, no matter what size, are very fattening and have very hard bones that are hard to digest. A bearded dragon’s digestive track is VERY small and at one point has like a kink in it, anything that has not been digested properly up to this point can get stuck and cause impaction. This is why the rule of thumb as far as size of food, whether it be salads or live, is it should be no bigger than the space in-between their eyes. Some better choices for live food are crickets, super worms (only when beardie is big enough), wax worms (only as a treat as they are fattening), calci-worms, silk worms, and the best are turk and dubia roaches. A lot of people freak when they first hear about the roaches, but they are not like your house roaches. I have a colony of dubia roaches. They are clean, don't smell like crickets do, easy to care for, and reproduce for themselves! Here are some pics of my dubia colony. There are more pics that you can scan through, (http://picasaweb.google.com/dolphinsilversea01/RoachColony#). Always gut load all live feeders before giving them to your beardie. Gut loading is pretty much just making sure that the feeders you are getting ready to feed to your bearded are full and have recently eaten themselves. This fattens them up, puts more meat on them, and makes them nutritionally better for your beardie. Example: Take the crickets you bought and put them into a container with cricket feed, fish food, or crushed dog/cat food over night and then feed them to your beardie.
Humidity is bad for a beardie and should only be at 30% in the viv. They normally do not drink from a bowl, but I keep a small one in my Spike’s viv just in case. In the wild they drink from falling water when it rains as it falls down leaves and such. They also get it from their food, and it is good to soak your beardie as much as possible. You can soak (or give your beardie a “bath”) your beardie in like a plastic container, in the sink, or in the tub – wherever is easiest and more convenient to keep a good eye on him/her. Be sure that the water stays warm – you can test the warmth of the water by letting it run along the inside of your wrist much like when you test a baby’s bottle. Let your beardie soak for at least 10-15 minutes as often as you can. Soaking a beardie helps them get hydrated, helps them with shedding, and the warmness and pressure from the water helps things move through their digestive system better.